India Begins Giant General Election

Indians have begun voting in the world's biggest election, with the ruling Congress party pitted against the Hindu nationalist BJP opposition.

The nine-phase ballot begins on Monday and concludes on 12 May. Votes will be counted on 16 May.

More than 800 million Indians are eligible to vote in a poll dominated by corruption and high inflation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already said he is stepping down and the Congress is being led by Rahul Gandhi, the latest member of India's influential Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

The BJP is being led by the charismatic and controversial Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi. Mr Modi, who is ahead in all the pre-election surveys, is the leader of Gujarat state which witnessed one of India's worst anti-Muslim riots in 2002.